Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) deserves praise for allowing candidates to talk to the electorate about their party manifesto and pledges in local dialect for at least 20 minutes after the common forum. For many communities language barrier has been a serious problem. When the voters are made to listen to the party visions and programmes in the language that they cannot speak or comprehend, it is to be wondered based on what the voters are exercising their adult franchise.
We could have afforded this little allowance a time long ago. It could be that the candidates were not aware that they could speak in the languages and dialects that the voters are more comfortable with. Many elections went by without clear communication between candidates and the voters. It is, therefore, the wisdom and courage of the commission that must be applauded today because the whole process could otherwise be pretty much meaningless if voters do not understand what the candidates from the constituencies are talking about.
At a time when the political parties are increasingly losing focus and getting at each other’s throats to gain votes from the constituencies at whatever cost, such provisions become all the more important. If the candidates can campaign in the constituencies in local dialects and languages, it makes little sense why they can’t during the common forum because they are debating and throwing in their merits to be considered by the voters in the constituencies.
We are a young democracy. That is why how we nurture it is more than just important. Political process in a democracy has never been easy. Everything you speak, even just as matter-of-factly, could be linked to one camp or the other. It is so in this context that we have to be more responsible, each individually.
Because we have our relations in the politics, we are somehow on one side. Because we are a nation with a sensible dream to rise with pride, we are on the other. The choice is clear. No single body should try to influence our choice.